We are facing an extreme labour shortage on the Sunshine Coast and across Canada, in both metropolitan areas and smaller communities like ours—and according to economists this labour shortage could continue for some time. There are a number of factors contributing to this issue: decrease in immigration and working holiday tourists, workers deciding to go back to school/enter new careers, workers choosing to retire early, parents unable to re-enter the workforce due to lack of childcare, and a housing crisis that has decimated the already insufficient supply of affordable and appropriate rental stock. While there aren’t any clear and easy solutions, we have compiled some ideas on how to keep your business sufficiently staffed during this trying time.
Get Creative with Recruitment Techniques
The labour pool is extremely limited right now, so getting creative with recruitment techniques is a must! Below is a list of ways you can increase your chances of finding the perfect match for your job posting:
Use a local job recruitment service such as Work BC or Praxis; these organizations have offices based on the Sunshine Coast, and are dedicated to helping employers with writing job descriptions, advertising job postings, screening potential candidates, and conducting interviews, as well as supporting new recruits with job site readiness – depending on your needs.
Ensure your job posting is being seen by promoting it across all available channels: Indeed, Monster, Eluta, BC Jobs, LinkedIn, paid and unpaid Instagram/Facebook posts, local Facebook groups and you can also reach out to local community centres, seniors centres and high schools if appropriate.
Offer signing bonuses for new employees that stay with your company for more than three months, and/or referral bonuses for staff members who refer a friend who gets hired stays for more than three months. This could be a cash bonus on their paycheck or another type of incentive.
Get creative with your job posting to make your business stand out as somewhere that is a great place to work. Be sure to include anything that makes your business unique and the job attractive for potential hires.
Add diversity to your hiring practices. Be flexible, inclusive and creative with who and how you hire—there are many people within our community looking for meaningful employment that might not fit your usual candidate profile. Increasing the diversity of your hiring practices will open up the pool of people you can hire from and could bring fresh insight, ideas and add to your businesses success overall.
Create an Amazing Work Environment
Create a work environment that makes your business stand out from the rest! There are a number of ways you can do this:
Offer competitive wages, benefits (you can access affordable benefits packages through your local Chambers of Commerce!), or perks such as staff accommodation, onsite/shared childcare programs, discounted or free food/services/merchandise, work from home options, fun company events, or overtime opportunities. Restaurants and cafes can create a tip pool arrangement that includes back of house employees to increase earnings for kitchen staff.
Try to accommodate your employees’ shift preferences as much as possible. Job flexibility is a key factor for many workers, so being proactive about getting their input prior to writing the schedule and being sensitive to encourage a positive work-life balance will go a long way toward creating happy and loyal employees.
Adjust your management style to be more inclusive, open and transparent. Including employees in decision making and creative aspects of the job will make them feel more valued which leads to increased productivity and loyalty to your business.
Offering training is a great way to attract new talent and increase your potential labour pool, you can offer skill building workshops/training to people just entering the workforce, or your industry. There are grants available right now to hire youth which could offset the cost of offering this training, two great ones are: the Get Youth Working! Program and the Natural Resources Internship Program.
Another great program available which results in the ability to promote your current employees is the BC Employer Training Grant Program. This grant program supports skills training in a variety of sectors and encourages employer involvement in providing opportunities for the training of their employees. This is such a great way to support your staff and increase staff retention for your business.
Switch up Your Business Model
If you simply cannot find enough staff, the only solution may be to switch up your business model. For restaurants that could mean switching to counter service only, reducing menu offerings or implementing an ‘afternoon siesta’ for the kitchen where you don’t serve food and allow the kitchen staff to regroup and prepare for dinner service.
If you are financially able to, investing in technology to streamline tasks such as inventory, reservations or appointment booking can be very helpful – these types of systems can have a learning curve at first, but in the end can be huge timesavers.